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Difference Between Blood Clot and Miscarriage
Blood clots and miscarriage are two distinct medical conditions that are often confused with each other due to their similar symptoms. Blood clots occur when blood coagulates or clumps together, while miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. Both conditions can be serious, but it is important to understand their differences in order to properly diagnose and treat them.
What are Blood Clots?
Blood clots are clumps of blood, which has changed from a liquid to a semisolid or gel-like state. The blood clots are the end product of the hemostasis – the bleeding termination process. They are produced by the accumulation of platelets.
The ability of blood to thicken and to clot is vital to survival. When the integrity of a blood vessel is impaired, platelets in the blood become sticky and accumulate around the site of the injury, forming a blood clot. In a healthy condition and undamaged integrity of the blood vessels, clots should not be formed.
Blood clots become dangerous when they appear in normal and not injured blood vessels or do not dissolve after they have fulfilled their function. These clots are of two types:
Thrombus – a blood clot that forms near the wall of the heart or a blood vessel. This type of clot may slow down the flow of the blood, and if it grows enough, it can stop the flow of blood into the affected blood vessel.
Embolus – a blood clot that forms in one part of the body, moves with the bloodstream and is stuck in another blood vessel. Emboli occur less frequently but are more dangerous because they can cause a sudden blockage of the bloodstream, which can be fatal. Embolism that arises in an artery stops blood flow to a certain organ or tissue and can cause tissue damage or even death.
Factors that contribute to the formation of blood clots in non-injured blood vessels are inflammation of the veins, blood diseases, genetic factors, diet, prolonged sitting, varicose veins, pregnancy, childbirth, sickle cell anemia, smoking, overweight, liver diseases and disorders in the cardiovascular system.
What is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is a disturbed pregnancy that ends before the fetus is able to survive outside the uterus, i.e. before the 20th gestational week.
Miscarriage in early pregnancy is a relatively common phenomenon. It occurs in 10-20% of the women who know they are pregnant. In fact, it is even more frequent, including the very early miscarriages that appear while the pregnancy has not been detected yet. About 80% of the miscarriages happen prior to the 12th gestational week.
Genetic and chromosomal embryonic abnormalities cause up to 95% of the miscarriages.
Other factors can also cause miscarriage. These include:
Diseases of the mother, such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid diseases, thrombophilia, immunological diseases, infections;
Intake of toxic substances, alcohol consumption, smoking;
Structural features of the uterus or the cervix, etc.
The miscarriages most often occur at a very early stage, prior to the development of the embryo. It is also possible an embryo in which heart rhythms are found to stop its development at a later stage.
The main symptoms of a miscarriage are abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding.
The pain is strong, sudden, accompanied by unbearable cramps. The cramps spread from the abdomen into the legs and thighs. Severe back pain accompanies the periods of cramps and heavy blood flow.
Тhe blood flow of a miscarriage usually starts with a brownish discharge. It is followed by unusually heavy bright red or pink discharge with big red blood clots, continuing 2-3 days. Small kidney shaped grey tissue mass is also discharged. If the pregnancy is beyond 6-8 weeks, a ball-shaped sac containing the fetus can also be found discharged.
A woman may feel an increase in temperature during a miscarriage.
Differences: Blood Clot and Miscarriage
While blood clots and miscarriage are two distinct medical conditions, they can sometimes be linked. For example, some women who experience recurrent miscarriage may have an underlying blood clotting disorder that increases their risk of blood clots. Additionally, blood clots can sometimes occur in women who have had a miscarriage, particularly if they have been on bed rest or immobile for an extended period of time.
Diagnosing blood clots and miscarriage requires different approaches. Blood clots can often be diagnosed through imaging tests such as ultrasounds or CT scans, as well as blood tests that measure the levels of certain clotting factors in the blood. In some cases, a biopsy or other surgical procedure may be necessary to confirm the presence of a blood clot. Miscarriage, on the other hand, is usually diagnosed through a combination of physical exams, ultrasound imaging, and blood tests to measure hormone levels.
Treating blood clots and miscarriage also requires different approaches. Blood clots are usually treated with anticoagulant medications such as heparin or warfarin, which help to prevent further clotting and reduce the risk of complications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot or repair the damaged blood vessel. Miscarriage, on the other hand, is usually managed with expectant management, which involves monitoring the patient and waiting for the body to naturally pass the pregnancy tissue. In some cases, medication or surgery may be necessary to remove the remaining tissue.
The following table highlights the major differences between Blood Clots and Miscarriage:
Blood clots are thick and sticky clumps of dried blood.
Miscarriage is a disturbed pregnancy that ends before the fetus is able to survive outside the uterus.
Almost every woman has noticed blood clots during her menstruation.
Miscarriage occurs in 10-20% of the women who know they are pregnant.
The most common reasons for the appearance of clots during menstruation are sedentary lifestyle, cervix disorders, disturbance of the hormonal balance, presence of an intrauterine device, polyps in the uterus, uterine fibroids, low hemoglobin, ectopic pregnancy, vitamin surplus in the body, etc.
The most common reasons for a miscarriage are genetic and chromosomal embryonic abnormalities, diseases of the mother, intake of toxic substances, alcohol consumption, smoking, structural features of the uterus or the cervix, etc.
Blood clots are uniform red blood clumps. An ultrasound scan shows them as black areas.
During miscarriage grayish tissue parts are discharged, together with blood clots. An ultrasound scan shows the products of conception as white areas.
In conclusion, while blood clots and miscarriage are two distinct medical conditions, they can sometimes be confused due to their similar symptoms. Blood clots occur when blood coagulates or clumps together in a vein or artery, while miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. While they are different, blood clots and miscarriage can sometimes be linked. Proper diagnosis and treatment of these conditions is essential in order to prevent complications.
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